The Leading Edge: Startups Try To Meld Video And Social At Demo

Video has been said to be the future of the Internet. Why express your thoughts in text when you can display them in full motion?

So it is no surprise social video startups were a focus of the Demo Fall 2011 conference in Silicon Valley on Wednesday.

There is little doubt social video is at the leading edge. Whether traction occurs anytime soon is anyone’s guess.

This yet-to-arrive tag can also be pinned on bringing voice to social sites, again stretching the traditional computing paradigm beyond keyboards and portable touch screens.

The concept of video and voice is interesting, suggested Scott Weiss, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz and one of a number of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to weigh in at the event. But “I want to see cell division happening before I invest,” Weiss said.

Despite the hesitation, several interesting companies showed themselves at Demo, including:


Stroome offers a site for online video editing and sharing. The Los Angeles company launched this summer and has 8,000 users. The aim of the service is to make collaboration and sharing easy, says co-founder Tom Grasty (pictured). “It’s a huge market,” he adds.

The company has raised friends and family money and is looking $1.5 million in seed funding.


Playkast lets users upload video clips they find on the Web, add comments, and post them to sites, such as Facebook. Viewers can then add their own comments or enter into contests and competitions.

The goal of the San Francisco company, which launched on Wednesday, is to make video social and interactive, says co-founder Larry Braitman.

The company has raised $1 million from angels and is looking for a $5 million Series A.


Also at the show was Qwip, a San Francisco startup marketing a voice messaging service that interacts with Facebook and Twitter. Mobile phone owners use an iTunes app to create and customize messages with sounds effects.

They can also create “groups” of friends to receive their missives.

The company, which launched on Tuesday, is seeking seed or Series A funding.